Linda uses the blank whiteboard as a metaphor the principle of Mind at IHC’s April 26th Living Joyfully Workshop.
Earth Day, Spring, nesting birds! So many messages this week that my mind associates with slowing down! There is such a strong cultural message here in Silicon Valley where I live to speed up, do more, and fill in those empty spaces in our lives. Sometimes I am drawn to question my natural inclination to slow down! But no, the calling is too strong for me, and I retreat again to our wonderful county parks, or to a book, or to just BE-ing. My multi-tasking days are over! It’s time to shine peacefulness on those I meet. In the quiet spaces of life, Wisdom can be heard!
If this resonates for you, take a look at your busy-ness.
I’m not sure why I needed guilt.
I’m thinking I used it to make me feel bad & behave.
I’m positive that throughout my life when I fostered feelings of guilt.
Those thoughts led me into places that were sad & forbidding.
I’m not sure why I needed guilt.
Guilt is solely a product of my imagination, my memories, my thinking.
That being said my acknowledging this has never ensured that the negativity I’m feeling in the moment will automatically disappear. In fact in the early stages of understanding what exactly thought is, I felt pangs of guilt just for thinking I was still feeling guilty about my life & how I was handling it. In the past guilt was there no matter what steps I took to understand why it surfaced. Once I allowed healing life as I knew it changed.
I have two beautiful daughters. Both were raised by me in unhealthy environments brought into existence because I decided that I always needed an unhealthy someone in my life, a man. They both survived. They survived my guilt ridden life while bringing into existence their own damaging feelings of guilt.
As a young adult my state of mind was stagnant and festered with guilt. I tried desperately to pull myself away from feelings of worthlessness by drowning myself in a dark, abyss of alcohol and crazy men. I was devoid of the ability to see where all my anguish came from confident it was those people who paraded through my life Hell bent on my destruction. And still as I persisted to live in my created unhappiness, I felt guilty for the survival at all &, worse, for exposing my beautiful daughters to those awful thoughts I made real every day.
And yet we all survived.
It wasn’t until I spent more than six years working in a homeless shelter filled with men and women racked with regrets, remorse, self-loathing that I learned the truth about my constant companion, guilt.
I listened. I was made to listen as I had placed myself in a position that required my rapt attention. Day after day I would hear stories. Over time hundreds of real stories of survival wrapped around feelings of guilt. Immediately I was transported with them into lives that danced with anguish, hardships, disappointments, and perilous lives most beginning when they were children just learning what love meant. I saw myself in their eyes, I felt my wounds in their scars and tears came unbidden as they cried over the choices that they had made to survive those awful days.
Over time I began to understand how I had manifested my own guilt to punish myself for choices I had made. And I began to heal.
I began a shift of understanding as I coaxed these spiritual beings into peace of mind.
The walk I took while standing amongst these magnificent survivors helped me to realize one very important lesson:
We are all doing the best we can using only the information we give ourselves to make sense of our lives. We do this every single moment via our own thought-filled creations. And these thoughts we create are without significance until we consciously decide they do and then, we feel. And at times we feel a lot!
If we had known there were better, healthier choices we would have made them. It truly is that simple and there is no guilt in that. There is no place for regret or remorse in “not knowing” and that path cannot be retaken for it exists only in our memories.
The fact that I survived at all, that any of us do, is a miracle all by itself.
I am proud that I survived a childhood of abuse. I feel gratified that I fought off my own self-destructive behaviors following that childhood and I have, without hesitation, compassion for the person I was and love who I am today.
A friend once said to me, “No one wants to feel bad. If they knew that they had a choice in that moment of distress they would certainly choose to feel differently.” It took me a minute to hear what this meant as I was convinced someone was making a choice to hurt me. But I listened. I was made to listen as I understood Wisdom was speaking and so I learned again.
If we knew in those dark moments that we could feel differently, we would. It is as simple and, sometimes because we hold on so tight to old behavior, as complicated as that.
“Negative thoughts are like scratches on a window: they stop you from seeing life with clarity. When the negative thoughts cease, the scratches disappear and the window becomes crystal clear. Then the beauty and positive aspects of life can be seen.” The Missing Link by Sydney Banks
We all have the ability to alleviate feelings of guilt and know we are always doing our level best. Once we give ourselves permission to appreciate the truth of this we also begin to heal.
Guilt, in fact all feeling, is made real by a little unknown factor called Thought. Once this is known we can all feel blessed to be part of the creation of its universe in a state of complete peace.
This week I’m doing something different!
When we begin learning about the 3 Principles, it is so easy to confuse ourselves with Positive Thinking. Indeed, when I understand where my feelings are coming from, I can often, as Syd said, “change the disk” and shift my mood. But the Principles are much more than that, and bring us insight into every mood we manufacture. I was so touched by a blog by Chris Cade, whose Course In Miracles writings are always powerful, that I decided to share it with you! He calls it The Lie About Positive Thinking, and I hope it will be helpful to all.
I’ve linked to his web page above, and copied his writing here:
I have one word to say about that kind of positive thinking…
Okay, so by the time my subconscious was done ranting I discovered I had more than just one word. 🙂
That’s not to say positive thinking is bad. It’s fundamentally important to living a happy, fulfilled, engaged life. However, the lie and myth is that positive thinking is all that’s needed.
The reality is that we have difficult and painful emotions for a reason. They arise out of a self-protective compassionate need to SERVE our selves more effectively. Like physical pain, emotional pain is a compass that helps us see when things aren’t quite working right inside ourselves.
When we ignore physical pain or mask it over with overmedication, our body degenerates and ultimately finds more pain (not less). The same is true when we use Positive Thinking as a form of “overmedication” for our soul.
By not honoring and owning our emotional pain, then our soul… our heart… our spirit… call it what you will… ultimately will degenerate. Our psyche isn’t designed to repress and suppress pain indefinitely. That’s a big reason why some higly successful people have emotional breakdowns. They just kept overmedicating (or ignoring) until finally they couldn’t do it anymore.
The flip-side is equally as dangerous. When we completely identify with the negative painful thoughts, when we allow them to run our lives, to make us forget how magnificent we inherently are, then we also breakdown. We aren’t designed that way either.
Instead, I suggest accepting and acknowledging painful emotions as a compass – like a thermometer – to help you more effectively focus your attention and energy. Notice the “warning signs” that negative thinking presents to you. It’s not like I never have negative thoughts. I have them every day!
The thing is, I don’t take them so seriously. I strive to see them for what they are: helpful information that can point me TOWARDS living a happier and more positive life. They show me where more attention and self-care is needed in my life.
By using negative thoughts and painful emotions in that way, then the positive thinking is no longer a crutch – it’s no longer an addictive medicine that silently degenerates us until it’s too late.
Instead, positive thinking becomes a support to help you through the negative thoughts and ultimately take your happiness to the next level.
– See more at: http://www.chriscade.com/rishi/?section=liberate-your-life&page=content&subpage=the-lie-about-positive-thinking#sthash.e8EbFlMA.dpuf